Many close-knit community groups have sprung up since the introduction of social media. The Papamoa Give and Get Facebook group is one of them, created in February 2015 by Rebecca Larsen and her friend Lynda Kazimoglu.
It now has almost 1000 members.
“At the time, we had both arrived with our families from overseas with limited stuff,” says Rebecca, who is also a published children’s book author and illustrator.
“I came back from Canada with two suitcases and had very little.
“A lot of the buy, sell and swap groups at the time didn’t seem very giving, so we put a different spin on our group so that you give something first before you get. That means the page keeps giving.
“It works really well and people are great about sharing their stuff.
“Personally, for me at the time it helped when I was setting up my life again in New Zealand.”
Rebecca has found that it’s also helped many other families.
“There was one girl a while back who got her baby room set up from this group,” she explains.
Rachel Rich, another admin, has been part of the group since it started.
“I love how the Give and Get has brought so many people in the community together through giving, and how it’s really helped out so many people and families locally,” says Rachel.
Rebecca decided that it was about time members of the group met each other.
“Even some of us admins haven’t actually met each other,” laughs Rebecca. “So I thought why not put on an ice cream party?”
Hosted by Papamoa Tavern, with ice creams sponsored by Future Focus Early Years Education, the community event will be held on Saturday, February 2 from 10am to noon. It will be an opportunity for members to meet the group admins as well as each other.
“This event is open to the community.
“We’re encouraging people to bring something, like a can for the food bank or a gift, and receive an ice cream.
“If they’re in need of something we have there then they can take it away.
“Everything else that’s left behind will be donated to the Waipuna Hospice Papamoa shop and the Papamoa Family Services emergency food bank.
“We’ve aligned it with the weekend before school goes back. There’s a push for food for people at Christmas and then it stops, so this is another push for food and for items so we can keep helping out throughout the year.
“We plan to get a whole lot of condiments so the kids can decorate their ice cream with lollies and sauces.
“Anybody can come, as long as they bring a gift and we’ll also have face painting.”
Rebecca plans to make the event an annual occurrence.
“Anyone from Papamoa can join our Give and Get group,” she says.